I'll never complain about my wheel again. Watch his transition at the minute... 2.20. He's really good.
Friday, May 27, 2011
Having my cup of coffee this morning I found myself browsing Adam Field's video list on youtube. I got sucked into this super sweet, 2 part video of Kim Young-Ho making a traditional style Onggi pot. If you haven't seen it..it's totally worth checking out, not to mention the rest of Adam's videos which are totally cool.
Posted by bfreeceramics at 9:12 AM
Thursday, May 26, 2011
The first unloading. It was a pretty quiet evening with a few friends and family showing up to see the results. We lit up the fire pit and roasted some brats and had some beers. I think all in all the firing was a good go. There were quite a few pots that were lookin pretty good and a few that looked real bad and some in between.
Now it'll become a game of adjustments and tweaks..paying attention to how the kiln is being fired, how it's stacked and for how long to fire...bagwall height.. exit flue adjustments.. Good thing it doesn't take a lot of pots to fill this thing. It means we'll dial it quickly. I think the next firing will be much much better.
I'm going to shoot some images of these pots probably later this week and I'll get them online to see.
Thanks for coming along with us all on this grand adventure of Kiln building and firing. It was damn fun.
Posted by bfreeceramics at 9:35 AM
Monday, May 23, 2011
It's difficult to describe what happened in the last few days..as the culmination of months of work.. sweat and blood.. small adventures, individual excursions and experiences, group activities, meetings.. hours and hours of preparation.. people mulling over plans, emailing, talking..thinking.. phone calls... doing. Shit. building a woodkiln is a lot of damn work!
After so so so much energy... seeing something like this actually working and firing..and most important of all, bringing people together..it solidifies even more, that the choice we made to follow clay was the right one. All these smiles are the reason. Every laugh (which never seemed to let up), every thoughtful question..every comment or exclamation of amazement at what was happening kept us rolling through this, seemingly...seamless firing.
It was a couple of days of surreal magic.
It wrapped around Scott's big ole 50th birthday. Quite the milestone I'd say..and a perfect time to fire.
It all began Saturday evening.. getting up to Scotts by about 6:30 pm. A lot of friends and family were there to celebrate Scotts birthday and the first loading and firing of this sweet little kiln. I think throughout the night.. the Happy birthday song was sung to Scott for every cake that was brought..I think there was a total of 4 different cakes. The Earl Grey Chocolate (heaven) from Park Avenue was definitely my favorite.
By midnight we finally had the kiln loaded and a fire started. By 3 am most of our friends had left and it was only Scott and I. I was exhausted..and left Scott to the kiln so I could take a few hours of sleep... I came back, once I heard... I may have been sleep walking..unconsciously worried and checking on the situation..anyways.. Scott kept the kiln going and by the time I came back on for real it was hot enough for the wood to be put on the grate bars.
Throughout the rest of the day Scott was a machine on the wood.. finding the driest dry and giving it a few splits to maximize sufrace and burn ability to get some quick temperature gains while I stoked the firebox and made adjustments as the kiln got hotter. This was my first woodkiln without a pyrometer.. (kids these days are so spoiled!). Neighbor after neighbor.. came through to see the new kiln in action and to ask all kinds of questions. I was glad to oblige and show them what I knew and let them look into the kiln to see the pots and cones. One neighbor, Dave and his family came through..then went home to bring me back a cup of very much needed coffee..and Elk burgers, fresh strawberries and plate of cheese and crackers. Super amazing folks.
Scott never slept..and extended his birthday by another day. He was pretty loopy....and quite the hoot to be around. The both of us were pretty wired..brain dead and just weird. By the end of the firing..a good soak period and 10 lbs of salt..I'm glad to say that the kiln looked pretty even with cone 9s and 10s.
Soon after we clammed the kiln up Matt and Emily showed up with a camera and a bottle of Bulleit whiskey. It was a great way to finish it off. Kiln opening is this Wednesday evening.
Posted by bfreeceramics at 9:57 AM
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
It only took... from the time I dismantled those two kilns last year until now... 10 months all together to get to this point today. What a super sweet day. We had a few things to wrap up..like getting the door situated and a few other bricks cut..so we took care of it. Matt was on point the whole day working the brick saw, while Scott and I humped the bricks up and down from the door until it was finally done.
I also spent part of the morning gathering the shelves I'd scrounged..and figured I should stop in at Sarah Jaeger's place to see about a few unwanted shelves my sister had told me about. Sarah was not only excited to give away a bunch of old, warped shelves.... she said I was actually doing her a favor. Ha. I told her I'd water her yard anytime this summer. Turns out that these old shelves were given to her when she first built her gas kiln behind her house..years ago. So the circle continues..and potters help potters alike. Nice to be around people like this.
The plan is to load Saturday afternoon and fire into Sunday... so... here we go! We have a few more things to make and a couple bisque kilns.... other things like wadding, cone packs, kiln wash..that sort of thing..and we're golden brown like crispy pan fried trout. yum. hey I need to get my fishing license already...
Posted by bfreeceramics at 7:42 PM
Monday, May 16, 2011
Well... we got the cover!
And there's a nice little article about our family business too. Not to mention we're sharing the magazine with some super sweet potters..such as the killer duo, you might know... Adam Field and his lovely wife, Heesoo Lee.. the blog master, Michael Kline (and all around good potter) plus a few other folks..but i don't know them..well, I don't know Michael Kline either.., but I've admired his pots for a long time...and have been reading his blog since I started mine about a year ago.
Head to your nearest newstand or see a sneak peek at the Ceramics Monthlty page!!
Check it out:)
Posted by bfreeceramics at 8:57 PM
Sunday, May 15, 2011
As the weather has finally, really, really taken a turn for Spring in Helena.. It's given good ole Scott time and the excuse to work on a few last details concerning the kiln.... I was nearly speechless when I saw the way he rigged up this old door from a kiln we salvaged from Merrysville more then two years ago.
See those pistons?? Those are actual pistons from an old diesel engine used in this very spot when a few guys used to mine the area. I might have some facts wrong, but the diesel engine was used to haul up big drums of water or ore or whatever from deep within the earth. Scott had to scrap that old paper weight that had been rusting away in the area for the last 60 years (or more)..and thought he should leave part of it behind. What a way to incorporate the history of the area and still be functioning!
Look at these super sweet handles that Scott and his father custom made and attached, not only to the stoke door, but also to our dampers.
And of course, the other side of the shed is built and the iron is finally up. We're ready to rock!
We're planning to load this Saturday and fire on into Sunday. The firing will be quick, not more then 24 hours. It might actually take much less time to reach temperature since the kiln is pretty tiny. We're all excited to see it finally happen.. I'm very glad to say that there'll be more posts coming your way in the next week..of the loading, the firing and the unloading.
It seems right to be firing this weekend too, since Saturday is Scott's birthday. Happy soon to be birthday, Scott!! You've really been the backbone behind this project.
Posted by bfreeceramics at 5:11 PM
Monday, May 9, 2011
My forms are heavily influenced by Japanese and Chinese ceramics.
The marks I make are inspired by the native designs of the American Southwest and by the German wood block prints of the early 1900s.
By combining my influences I am investigating the way marks and the piece merge, creating depth through implied horizon and atmosphere.
I want my pottery to slowly reveal to the user new insights within the abstract linear designs, the curves of the form, and nuances of the surface.
These pieces are for sale at the Holter Museum of Art here in Helena, Montana.
Posted by bfreeceramics at 6:52 PM
Saturday, May 7, 2011
While this last kiln cooled.. and after the studio was cleaned up, after the mad rush before the mad studio sale (which went very well by the way), after the second to last kids class for a few months and after finally paying a few neglected bills... I slept like I haven't slept in months. It's been some time since I took a five hour nap in the middle of the day, or had the type of sleep..that felt like real sleep. you know..that good kind of sleep when all is black, and deep.. calm like a summers night, laying on your back gazing into the heavens...the smell of trees and the touch of a warm breeze...and when you wake, not feeling the need to get up right away (all the things, at least the immediate things, are finished). it was the sort.. that when you finally do wake up, it's easy to say.. i'm going to go back to sleep now, because it's ok.. and it happens in less than a moment.
these experiences happen seldom. already, after a few days I feel the urge to get more and more done because time, for me, is moving at an incredible pace. i have to keep up. ebb and flow..ebb and flow. balance. where is my center?
here's the last kiln. which i fired with Kenyon at the Bray. wood/salt..cone 9. just a couple of quick snapshots with my computer. these will be cleaned up and shot the right way by Sunday..and then off to the Holter Museum's sales gallery Monday morning. I'm a week late.. but i think it was worth it.
Posted by bfreeceramics at 7:29 AM